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If you intend to purchase a house soon, it helps to prepare for the home buying journey. In fact, if you identify potential issues before you start your quest to find your dream home, you could avoid them during your property search.

Now, let's take a look at three common issues that plague homebuyers, along with tips to address these problems.

1. Lack of Home Financing

In some instances, a homebuyer will check out residences and find one that matches their expectations. Next, this buyer will submit an offer to purchase a home that ultimately gets accepted. At this point, however, the buyer may discover that they lack the necessary financing to acquire this home.

Entering the housing market with financing in hand is ideal. If a buyer gets pre-approved for a mortgage, they will know precisely how much money is available for a home purchase. As a result, this buyer can map out their home search accordingly.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, it helps to meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach a homebuyer about his or her mortgage options. Plus, they can help you make an informed mortgage selection.

2. Tight Home-buying Timeline

If you have only a limited amount of time to move from your current address, you may rush to purchase a house. In this scenario, you risk making a rash home purchase – something that may prove to be problematic both now and in the future.

For buyers who face a tight home-buying timeline, there is no need to stress. If you make a list of home-buying tasks you need to accomplish, you can take a step-by-step approach to the property buying journey.

3. Unrealistic Home-buying Expectations

You may expect to buy your dream residence without delay. Yet the real estate market offers no guarantees. And in certain instances, it may take many weeks or months before a buyer finds a house that they want to purchase.

To establish realistic home-buying expectations, it usually is a good idea to work with a property buying expert. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and they can provide home-buying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

A real estate agent is committed to a homebuyer's success. As such, he or she will work with a homebuyer and help them prepare for the housing market. A real estate agent will also set up home showings and provide feedback about available residences in a buyer's preferred cities and towns. And if a buyer finds a house that they want to purchase, a real estate agent will help this individual put together a competitive home-buying proposal, too.

When it comes to purchasing a home, you should plan for the best - and worst-case scenarios. If you consider the aforementioned home-buying issues before you begin your house search, you can boost the likelihood of enjoying a successful property buying experience.


The process of buying a home is anything but cut and dry. There will undoubtedly be some twists and turns along the way. First, you need to be pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, you’ll need to find a home that fits both your needs and your budget. Finally, you’ll put in an offer on a place and hope for the best throughout the rest of the process.


There are plenty of things that you can do as a buyer to make buying a home both easier and more streamlined. Below, you’ll find some of the best tips that are specifically for those seeking to buy a home. 


Give Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse


When there is a low quantity of homes and a high number of buyers, competition can get fierce. When the market is like this, you’re not guaranteed to get a property that you put an offer on. It may take making several offers on homes in order for you to finally get the keys to your dream house. 


You never want your offer to be too low. A low offer could be insulting to sellers and instead of being countered, could just be outright refused. Make an offer too high and you still have a problem. A high offer may be accepted, however, it’s not going to be approved by your mortgage company for you to borrow that much for the purchase. If an offer is accepted and a home appraises for less, you may be left with thousands of dollars that you need to pay on the spot in order to secure the home. 


The best way to present an attractive offer is to work with an expert realtor who can do the appropriate research and let you know what a good offer on the home would be.           


Know Your Contingencies


After an offer on a home has been accepted, you need to get to work on the contingencies that you’re going to want on the home. Your realtor will also be a huge advocate in this area. Contingencies will include things like the right to do a home inspection, the appraisal contingency, and the contingency that you’ll only be able to move forward with buying the home if you have appropriate financing. These protect you as a buyer so that if something falls through, you’ll be able to back out of the deal without a penalty.


Don’t Go Credit Happy


Once your offer is accepted and your financing is in place, don’t head out to buy tons of new furniture and appliances for your new home. Your credit matters until you get the keys to the house. Opening new credit cards or adding significant debt can affect your credit score negatively, possibly putting a damper on your home purchase. Hold off on making purchases until after you move into the house.    



Buying a vacation home may prove to be a great investment. It enables you to spend time at a terrific location at your convenience – all without having to worry about hotel or motel costs. Plus, a vacation home can be tailored to your individual needs. You can decorate your vacation house however you would like, and ultimately, find ways to make this residence a fun spot to visit any time you choose.

If you decide to search for a vacation home, it helps to prepare for the house buying process accordingly. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you launch a successful search for a vacation residence.

1. Know Where You Want to Go

Consider where you want to purchase a vacation house, as well as how far away you want this residence to be from your primary home. Then, you can narrow your vacation house search to residences in a select group of cities and towns.

Think about your vacation home must-haves, too. Oftentimes, it helps to make a list of vacation home must-haves that you can use to guide your house search. Once you have this list at your disposal, you can use it to accelerate your quest to find a vacation home that suits you perfectly.

2. Establish a Homebuying Budget

Find out how much you can afford to pay for a vacation residence. Because if you conduct a vacation home search with a budget in hand, you could find a superb house that offers the ideal blend of affordability and quality.

Generally, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a vacation home search. These financial institutions employ home financing specialists who can teach you about various mortgage options. Also, you can work with a home financing specialist to establish a house buying budget that ensures you won't have to spend beyond your means to acquire a first-rate vacation residence.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to searching for a vacation home, there is no need to work alone. If you employ a real estate agent, you can receive expert assistance as you navigate the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a vacation home in any city or town, at any time. First, he or she will meet with you and learn about your vacation homebuying goals. A real estate agent next will help you hone your vacation home search and set up property showings. Finally, if you find a vacation home you want to acquire, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to buy this residence.

Ready to purchase a vacation home? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips – you will be happy you did. By using these tips, you can quickly and effortlessly perform a comprehensive vacation home search. Perhaps best of all, you can speed up the process of finding a top-notch vacation residence that matches your expectations.


Open houses can be a great way to get to know a home and the neighborhood it sits in. Sure, the seller will be trying to put their best foot forward on the big day. But, you’ll still be able to get a chance to tour the home relatively uninterrupted.

But what should you look for in particular when attending an open house?

There are a number of things you can learn at an open house. Many prospective buyers spend the time looking at things like paint color and cosmetic touches that can easily be changed, and very little time considering important factors that should go into their home buying decision.

So, in today’s post, I’m going to cover some of the lesser known things you should be looking out for when you attend an open house. That way, you’ll know which houses are worth considering further and which ones should be left behind.

Not enough storage space

If you find yourself constantly running out of storage space (and who doesn’t?), you’ll want to make sure the home has ample space to store your belongings. If it doesn’t, see if you can find ways to repurpose areas for storage, such as spare bedrooms or garage space.

Overly scented areas

It’s perfectly normal for a seller’s agent to place one or two choice candles in the home during an open house.

However, if you notice some rooms have an overpowering smell of candles or air fresheners, there’s a good chance it’s there to mask offensive and hard to remove smells. Pet and cigarette odors are among the worst culprits.

The windows, doors, and cabinets should work like a dream

When attending an open house, take note of how well the doors open and close. If appropriate, ask the seller’s agent if you can try out the windows and cabinets as well.

Problems with these items can be signs of poor craftsmanship, cheap materials, or neglect.

Traffic and neighbors

If you’ve found what you think is the perfect home, it can be easy to see the world through rose-colored lenses.

However, it’s important to take them off when looking around the yard. Take note of the traffic level, and the amount of privacy the home receives. If you like the home, it’s also a good idea to stop by the neighborhood during rush house to gauge how traffic would affect your commute.

Air flow issues

Improper ventilation can lead to mold growth, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Make sure bathroom vents and fans work properly, and check windows for condensation.

In rooms with sinks, check around the base of the sink and counter for signs of water damage or mold.

Large cracks in foundations or ceilings

While small, hairline cracks in the foundation of a home are completely normal, large ones can be dangerous.

They can allow water and pests to enter the home, causing all types of costly damages.


Keep those six tips in mind when you attend the open house, and be sure to bring a list of any other questions you might have for the seller’s agent.


The US government has been helping Americans achieve their goal of homeownership for decades. Through programs offered by the Federal Housing Authority, the USDA, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, millions of Americans have been able to afford a home who would have otherwise struggled.

The focus of today’s post is one such service: loans offered through the USDA Rural Development program.

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future but are worried about being able to save up enough for a down payment or build your credit score in time, USDA loans could be a viable option.

Let’s take a look at some of the common questions people have about USDA loans:

Do I have to live in the middle of nowhere to get a USDA loan?

The short answer is “no.” rural development loan eligibility for your area is laid out on a map provided by the USDA. Most of the suburbs outside of major cities, as well as nearly all rural areas, are covered by the rural development program.

Can I qualify for a USDA loan if I’ve previously owned a home?

Yes. You may be eligible for a loan as long as you’re not the current owner of a home that was purchased through the rural development program. So, for example, if you own a home financed through the USDA and wanted to buy a second home and rent out the first one, you wouldn’t be able to finance your second home through the USDA.

How does the USDA loan guarantee work?

When you buy a home, a lender asks you to make a down payment. If you don’t have a down payment, the government (USDA, VA, or FHA) insures the down payment on your home rather than you paying it up front.

Will I have to pay mortgage insurance?

Unlike other subsidized loans, rural development loans require a “guarantee fee” rather than PMI (private mortgage insurance). The guarantee fee is 1% the total mortgage amount and this can typically be financed into the loan (so you don’t have to pay up front). In addition to the guarantee fee, USDA loans also charge an annual premium for the lifetime of a loan.

What are the qualifications for a USDA loan?

To find full eligibility information, complete the survey on the USDA’s eligibility website to find out if you qualify. However, the general qualifications are:

  • U.S. citizenship

  • Buying a home in a qualifying area

  • 24 months of income history

  • A credit score of 640 or higher for streamlined processing

  • Income high enough so that your monthly payments do not exceed 29% of your monthly earnings

What is the direct loan program?

The USDA really offers multiple urban development loans. The guarantee program, for which most single families utilize, and the direct loan program. Direct loans are designed for families who have the greatest need. You can also find out if you’re eligible for a direct loan by filling out the questionnaire on their website.






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